Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace on Role of Faith Communities

Dr. Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International’s frank and articulate executive director challenges us to stand up for a global community based on sharing the Earth’s resources equitably and sustainably. It is not all bad news he quipped as he spoke about the build-up to COP 21 to be held in Paris in December. We do not need to save the planet!  Earth will save herself once we have exterminated ourselves. But how do we save humanity and fashion a way to co-exist with our planet? Kumi’s question is directed to all of us but at that moment specifically to the people attending his talk on Preparing for the 22nd Century, Environmentally hosted by the Cornerstone Institute in Cape Town.

Kumi  Naidoo of Greenpeace on COP 21Instead of the fab outcome we should reasonably expect after 20 years of COP deliberations he believes we are likely to get another FLAB outcome – “An outcome Full of Loopholes And Bullshit!” Why?  Sadly NGOs promoting climate friendly agendas have failed to rouse the mass of concerned but apathetic global citizens. The seismic social events of the last decade such as occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring were not driven by NGOs. The mobilization came from citizens affronted by the failure of democracy to ensure fair access to societal benefits and a global economy based on material lifestyles that are depleting and polluting our only home, Earth.

“What action should the faith communities be taking,” invited Rev Rachel Nash of the Anglican Church?

Collectively the world’s faith communities are a huge constituency.  Without faith communities acting, society simply won’t get enough mobilized citizens to move the politicians to act on climate change at COP 21 in Paris: replied Kumi emphatically. “Faith leaders need to fulfill their obligation to stand-up for and look after God’s creation. Religious texts have enough environmental wisdom but with a few exceptions the silence of faith leaders has been deafening.” He spoke with a mixture of optimism and appreciation for the stance of Pope Francis. “It does not matter if you are not religious, read Pope Francis’s treatise On Care for Our Common Home.” In it the Pope identifies the politico – economic systems that are causing the conditions for global poverty and environmental degradation and he calls for an ethical revival.(Click here to Download )

Kumi opened his talk with the advice that we should not promote the environmental challenges we are facing as a nightmare. Instead we should be inspired by Martin Luther King’s famous words, “I have a dream”. If we find the complex layers of social and environmental concerns confusing and demotivating, Kumi challenges us to ask ourselves the key question he asks himself whenever the going gets tough: ”Have I let myself become adjusted to social and environmental injustice?” He answers with his characteristic broad smile which lifts the mood and makes intent actionable. “No! I shall always challenge and remain mal-adjusted to a world that is consumed by an economic system that “takes necessities from the many to provide luxuries to the few”.

How would you answer his question? Have you become adjusted to injustice? If not and you want to take action here are some to start with.

Join a COP 21 Climate March near you. http://globalclimatemarch.org/en/join-an-event/

Become energy efficient & invest in renewable energy at home and at work.

Shift your financial investments from fossil fuels to ethical businesses. http://fossilfreesa.org.za/

Get serious about saving water. This drought will end but water remains precious.

Buy local http://www.proudlysa.co.za/why-buy-local Buy ethical http://www.eategrity.co.za/

Kim Kruyshaar Nov 2015



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